Cat bath!

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,656
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
As promised, I took some pictures while cleaning my cat today. I learned some stuff about running my stove, too!

This guy has run for 2 seasons (~9000-10000 hours) in a Princess Insert providing the only heat for the house. (I do have an oil burner, but it only gets work when I'm out of town.)

It still works but it a lot less frisky than it used to be. Let's pull it out of there...

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Oh, dear! The cat is plugged on the front side up top where you can't see it.... sneaky.

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The crud brushes off easily with a soft brush.

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The front side of the cat has no cracks, despite some thermal abuse. The back side has lots of small cracks, but no bits falling off.

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And with the cat out, I learn something new about my stove. Not only do flue sweepings land on the ledge behind the cat, they also build up in the internal angle of the flue pipe. I have to start letting the stove go cold for sweepings so I can get up in there. Look at that! 2 years of loose crud sitting there blocking a significant chunk of my airway.

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I do not have enough Wife Points to do the vinegar bath inside, and I've never used a rocket stove before, so voila... a double barrel cinder block cat boiler stove, here for one day only.

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Cat grabber straps, and little feet to keep it off the bottom of the pot (you want liquid to circulate through the cells).

Disaster! I do not have a big enough pot to do this in. My big brewpot isn't wide enough, and my biggest baking pan is a bit too shallow.

A sensible man would stop here and get a suitable pot.... but not me!

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Does that look like a dumb idea? Come on, give me some credit.

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Off we go. Soon I will discover that the fry basket full of tinfoil WAS a dumb idea, and I will lose a bunch of my vinegar and water directly into the rocket stove, making me, the fire, and everyone in breathing distance distinctly unhappy.

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Back in business.

It gets boiled in a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and distilled vinegar for 30 minutes, then two 15 minute boils in clean distilled water.

Due to my very oversized second pot and my leaky dumbass first pot, I used about a gallon of vinegar and 4.5 gallons of distilled water total, including evaporation losses. If you had a pot that your cat fit in a little better, you could use less.

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Time for a walk while the cat cooks!

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Coming out of the last bath- looks pretty clean. Water is too low because I ran out of distilled water on the last bath. You want to keep ot above the cells so water can circulate through.

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That cinder block stove is still cranking. Musta fed it too many twigs.

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After a half dozen tries at getting the cat in without folding the new gasket over, I said 'Heck with it, I am going to tape that thing down and the tape can just burn off later'. This works well. Later I look up how you're supposed to do it, and... you're supposed to tape it. Huzzah?

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That's it! I'll try to remember to come back and let y'all know how the old ceramic cat does (if it doesn't do well, I have a brand new steel one and a new gasket ready to go!)
 
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HisTreeNut

Minister of Fire
Nov 3, 2014
1,066
Burnsville, NC
That looks like a nice relaxing little spot...if I was closer, I might have to join you and sit for a spell...
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
That's it! I'll try to remember to come back and let y'all know how the old ceramic cat does (if it doesn't do well, I have a brand new steel one and a new gasket ready to go!)
If you don't want to waste a gasket I imagine you could test it with a butane camp stove like this:

 
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Alpine1

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2017
340
Eastern Alps, Italy
Very useful post, thank you Jetsam! Remember to keep us updated when you'll fire up the stove again
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,656
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Not really stove weather yet- but the bath really woke the old cat up! I put the cat in before the probe reported active range, and it was glowing orange in about 8 seconds. Cut the air waaay back, and it just kept glowing. Looks like I will get another year out of the old ceramic cat!

(Note to new guys: your cat does not need to be glowing to be working. Go outside during the day and observe your flue. If you see and smell woodsmoke, your cat is not working. If you don't, it is.)

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(Top photo after cutting the air, bottom before. The little brown dog wasted zero time occupying the spot right in front of.the stove after I lit it.)

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,306
South Puget Sound, WA
Love the cement block rocket stove. It's good to see all that effort worked at resurrecting the cat.
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
Not really stove weather yet- but the bath really woke the old cat up!
The cat, it woke up. The dog, it went to sleep.

It's all good!
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,656
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Love the cement block rocket stove. It's good to see all that effort worked at resurrecting the cat.
I hope that my experience helps people everywhere to save their valuable dollars and even more valuable Wife Points. ;)

The rocket stove was temporary, but far nicer than I expected. I was impressed that I could get sustained cooking heat very quickly out of whatever twigs were nearby- all from a $6 stove. The BEST part (everyone who cooks on campfires, get ready to be impressed) was that it started out and stayed flat on top!! :)
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,306
South Puget Sound, WA
The only thing that made me nervous was all the leaves around the base of the rocket stove. We are super dry out here. Very little rain since mid June.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,656
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I keep a rake and a shovel out there in case of mishap (that's my outdoor firepit area). I rake up all those pine needles and burn them off when it starts getting chilly out, as that's my outdoor firepit. I haul the buggy/rotten stuff out there all year when I'm splitting, and burn it in the fall and spring.
 

black smoke signals

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2016
391
Wyoming Colorado
Great post jetsam like your rocket stove here is a rock stove that heats while sitting Wonderful Wyoming
 

black smoke signals

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2016
391
Wyoming Colorado
uploaded file is too large for the server to process.

1B07535D-182B-4133-A20B-898A82F029BC.jpeg Sorry won’t upload pictures
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,306
South Puget Sound, WA

black smoke signals

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2016
391
Wyoming Colorado
fire stays lit for about 4 hours in mornings then keeps the bench warm the rest of the day. No fire while setting!
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,656
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
So as a follow-up, the weather is freezing and the cat is still going. It is not performing like a new cat, but it glows orangey red when you feed it fresh wood, and it seems to be doing its job adequately so far. It has to be past its 10,000 hour expiration date at this point.

Vinegar bath: yes!

Also, the cinder block rocket stove went on to become the footings for a new woodpile, so happy ending there also. :)